In troubled waters...

In troubled waters...

If you are riding or driving through the streets of Koramangala, you might catch a glimpse of a yellow raft sailing peacefully in the middle of the city. Yes, you read that right! It is not an impossible sight to see a raft among motor vehicles anymore.

Bengalureans are grappling with the unprecedented rains that lead to flooding of not just the streets but also people’s homes. Low-lying areas like Koramangala, especially the 4th block, are the worst hit.

“Living in these areas has become a nightmare for many of us,” says Pratheek Ponnappa, a software professional who is a resident of S T Bed layout, Koramangala.

“I work in Bellandur which is about seven kilometres from Koramangala. It usually takes about 20 minutes of travel. However when it is raining, it takes one-and-a-half hours for the commute. Because of the unpredictable rains, I have changed my work timing to avoid the heavy rains in the evenings,” he says.   

He points out that after the heavy showers on August 15, the owner and the association members of his apartment reached out to the BBMP officials. Though they made a visit to the site, there was no follow up after that.

“We had approached them mainly for two reasons — to make the drainage passage smooth and repair the unpaved roads,” he says.

Talking about the yellow raft bought by a resident of Koramangala recently, an incident that is garnering a lot of attention, he adds, “No one needs a boat or a raft in a place like Bengaluru, but if people are actually buying one, it shows that the situation is serious and they are in a real crisis. Blocking of flooded roads by cops to avoid accidents is not a solution. The authorities have to come up with a concrete plan that will resolve this issue once and for all.”

Pratheek also highlights the problems faced by the commuters because of the numerous potholes emerging on the city’s roads every day. He mentions that just last week his vehicle had three punctures due to the tiny residual stones around these potholes.

Fed up with how things are progressing, he has also started an online petition seeking safer, pothole-free roles in the city. The petition describes the current scenario of Bengaluru roads.

Pratheek says that there are at least 15,000 potholes in the city, most of which are life-threatening. Though he demands are focussed on repairing these potholes, he also talks about having proper street lights and proper designing of the dividers on the road.

Srinivas R, an architect opines, “Taking out a raft is not a permanent solution and I really hope it doesn’t last too long. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) should come up with something more concrete that will reduce the inconvenience of the people. Seeing a raft in the middle of the street might be a fun sight, but the plight that has forced the residents to take this decision is saddening and makes me angry.”

“For the last five years, I haven’t seen any development in the infrastructure of Bengaluru. It’s high time we all act and realise that the lives of people are at stake. The lakes should be cleaned and a way should be created for the rainwater to drain out smoothly,” he adds.

Even as public anger over the apathy of the officials comes to the fore, citizens are adopting innovative ways to turn the attention of the officials towards the challenges faced by them.

While the raft is one such example, another reminder comes in the form of the stunning works by painter Baadal Nanjundaswamy. Most of his street art and 3D paintings reflects the plight of the people.

His most recent work transforms a pothole into a pond with a mermaid sitting beside it.

One only hopes that such creative and dramatic steps can bring about a change in the city and the voice of the citizens will finally reach the ones in power. 

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